On Monday, Harris Defence Australia opened its new HQ in Hamilton, Brisbane and president and managing director Alan Callaghan made special note of the wider import of the milestone, particularly with regard to the company's recent experience working on Army's networked battle management and communications system under programs such as Land 200 and JP2072.
Callaghan reflected upon earlier times when “Defence had been a harsh mistress”.
"The programs were large, they were complex and expensive and they needed to be, I mean strategically they guaranteed the safety and effectiveness of our fighting forces and ultimately the sovereignty of Australia," he said to ADM.
Despite all this however, there had been strong lines of demarcation and a very "siloed" approach to such programs.
"One organisation would pick up the problem, tussle with it and play with it, then pass it along and it was done in a very linear fashion."
The result of this, Callaghan explained, was an output that was more expensive, more importantly it would invariably result in the warfighter getting “yesterday's technology tomorrow”.
“I have no doubt that had we used that model on [Land200/JP2072] we would not be here today celebrating the opening of this facility and the establishment of this capability.”
Callaghan cited the successful application of the First Principles Review as the main driver in the company's growth and success of recent times.
“The Land 200 Tranche 2 program really exemplifies this – we saw Army HQ, CASG, Harris, Elbit and Boeing all working collaboratively, doing risk reduction activities, offer definition activities, and workshops; as it turned out the Commonwealth were part of that; so they saw the solution and its associated problems and understood the risk profile.”
The multi-disciplinary makeup of the integrated teams working on the project also contributed to success, according to Callaghan, with many of Harris' ex-military employees sharing common goals and values with their Commonwealth counterparts, who also better understood commercial drivers.
“When you get the two of them together and when you work in that sort of environment you get, I think, what we've achieved so far in our journey in Tranche 2 – I'm certainly convinced that you don't get there under the old ‘us and them’ paradigm,” Callaghan said.
Commenting on the release of the Government's export strategy, Callaghan said the Commonwealth will own the network architectural IP as well as the IP of the core of the network interface system which has “absolute marketability”.
“The truth, the reality is that Australia, in its development of this network architecture, leads the US, the UK and NZ – in fact each of those parties has come to us as a company to find out what we are doing here. It is something that we as Australians can export into the region.”